Frequently Asked Questions
How long are lessons?
Lessons are usually between 30 and 90 minutes. Younger children often have 30 minutes, whereas children over 9 tend to have 45 minutes. Most of my adult students take a 45 minute lesson. Advanced students (Grade 5+), whether adults or children usually take an hour lesson.
Where are lessons?
Lessons are mostly held at The Friends Meeting House, St Helen's Street, Derby, DE1 3HY. I also work at The Old Vicarage School in Darley Abbey, Derby.
Is my child too young?
I will accept children from the age of 4 or 5 as long as I think they are ready. With very young children, lessons are very playful, energetic and fun: I teach singing and rhythmic games (including elements of Kodály and Dalcroze Eurhythmics) to develop the musical, coordination, memory and concentration skills necessary for being able to play an instrument.
Am I too old?
No! There is no upper age limit for students. The most important factors are commitment, patience and a willingness to try new things. All students including adults need to be happy to practise several times per week and not to give up at the first hurdle!
Do I need a piano or will a keyboard do?
This largely depends on what you would like me to teach you. For piano lessons, I only take on pupils who have an acoustic or electric piano. For the other subjects I teach (see below) sometimes a keyboard can be enough.
Do I have to take exams?
No. But you can if you want to. In the UK, there are a number of examination boards. I tend to use Trinity for piano and ABRSM for theory, but I am happy to go with either exam board if a student has a strong preference.
What subjects do you teach?
Musicianship and Aural Perception (listening skills): beginner to advanced
I provide techniques and solutions for musicians of all backgrounds who want to improve their listening skills. My method is based on the principles of Dalcroze Eurhythmics and Kodály. Pupils do not have to be studying for an exam to benefit from lessons but I may include work towards the ‘aural’ section of instrumental exams or the Associated Board’s ‘Musicianship in Practice’ syllabus where appropriate.
Piano: beginner to Grade 8
I teach a combination of classical, blues, jazz and pop genres. The type of music and style of lessons is tailored to suit the student, taking into account the student’s own preferences, previous playing experience and technical ability. I teach all students how to read music, how to work pieces out by ear, how to memorise music and how to improvise.
Theory: beginner to University level
It is important not to separate the written music from the sound. I help students to work towards exams if that is their aim, but ultimately my goal is for theory students to be better able to read and understand the music they play or sing. I often ask non- pianists to bring their instruments to theory lessons, and to play through examples where appropriate. I will teach musical notation to students aged 7 and upwards, but only if they are also learning an instrument. For my own piano students, theory is integrated into practical lessons, but extra theory lessons are advisable at more advanced levels.
Composition and Songwriting
I provide tuition in composition and songwriting for all ages and abilities. This can be part of a music theory or piano lesson, or a freestanding subject.
Any further questions? Just contact me!